Celtic is in a race against time to get its transfer business done. We know that. But for a while now there’s been a supposition that if we were going to sign people from abroad that it had to be in enough time for quarantine rules to take effect.
Actually, this might not be the case … or rather, there’s a way that they might not matter.
I am forever grateful to the readers of this blog for pointing me in the right direction of things when I get stuff wrong, and whilst it’s not cut and dried there are sections in the quarantine regulations which offer us a window.
Everyone knows that there are exemptions in the rules.
One of those exemptions, of course, is for elite sportsmen and women.
Those exemptions are why Copenhagen’s first team can fly in and out of Scotland for those games without having to self-isolate.
But those rules crucially benefit Celtic as well, because they specifically say that the exemption extends to certain “European football club competitions”, which would mean that almost anyone we sign would be able to play in those games.
Here’s the thing; the exemption only applies to amber list countries.
Red countries are a different prospect entirely. None of our proposed targets are on the red list, and the Israeli winger is actually on the green list which means there are no real restrictions on him at all.
So thanks to the handful of people who’ve pointed me in the direction of the exemption for footballers under Schedule 3A which allows travel for the explicit purpose of participating in “European Professional Club Football fixtures, including UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League fixtures.”
It seems that this is our lifeline and our guarantee that these guys can play.
So all we need to do now is close as many of these deals as we can in the next 24 hours, and in fact I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll do that.
If we can get those deals done – and three out of four are nearly there – then we’re going into this game in vastly better shape than I thought we would be.
There are, finally, reasons to be optimistic about our first big test.